“Do we want more diversity in the very small amount of available jobs? Or do we want to talk about radically democratizing the field…?
-Michael John Garcés, quoted in Seema Sueko’s “Jump into the Gaps”
2013 was a big year. We held three conferences—the Audience (R)Evolution Learning Convening in Philadelphia, the National Conference: Learn Do Teach in Dallas and the Fall Forum on Governance: Investing in Vitality in New York City. We launched the Diversity & Inclusion Institute and the inaugural round of Audience (R)Evolution grants. We reconnected with our movement’s visionary founders through the publication of Todd London’s An Ideal Theater: Founding Visions for a New American Art. Our wide-ranging programming began to move in synch with our strategic focus on diversity & inclusion and audience engagement & community development.
Throughout this frenetic pace, three questions about our theatre field chimed persistently and in various forms:
- For whom?
- By whom?
- And how can we fund it?
These are old questions, but Michael John Garcés’ call for radically democratizing our field speaks to the renewed, shared energy behind them. From rapidly evolving forms of technological engagement to shifting demographics, from accelerating climate change to rising income inequality, our culture’s tectonic plates are shifting, and theatres are finding radically new ways to answer the old questions. Our Audience (R)Evolution, our Diversity & Inclusion Initiative, our Fall Forum’s focus on capitalization: through these ongoing efforts, we engage with these questions to strengthen the shared ground on which we stand.
To that end, I share three important deadlines/opportunities with you:
- The deadline for Leadership U[niversity] Continuing Ed grants is 1/15, Noon ET; and
- The Fiscal Survey 2013 has launched and the deadline is 1/27. Not only is the survey the basis for Theatre Facts, but participants gain exclusive access to extensive online reporting tools and data. Survey help is always available for Member Theatres by emailing Ilana Rose.
- Want to share your thoughts on An Ideal Theater? Learn how you can participate in the salon here.
For whom? By whom? Ask these questions long enough and you begin to believe they need a bigger target than just our theatre field. What if theatre could be the radical way we ask these questions of our democracy? (Now let’s fund it!)